Martin and Helen knew of my work through the NPG Portrait competition. They had refurbished their house and Martin, an architect, had made his office upstairs. As such, their refurbishment became a showpiece for his business and they had started to think about a painting to add atmosphere to the large living space. They had particular ideas, it had to be of a certain size, depict their three children and be set outside, so that their beautiful garden would be reflected indoors. The result is a 3 panelled 'triptych' nearly 4 metres in length.
The Clark's portrait took six to eight weeks over the summer of 2011. It began with several conversations and then a visit to take photographs and plan a composition. Further visits followed to discuss the details and to make sure Helen and Martin were happy with the direction the portrait was taking. From that point I was left to get on with it.
Working to a strong brief suits me fine when needed. I think it might be my early training and experience as an illustrator, having to fill the quite prescriptive demands of a particular job. I think it also lends me to portraiture and I enjoy the relationship that develops between myself and a client.
I've been back to look at the painting. It's a great success, hanging prominantly in the heart of the house and it's starting to do what a good portrait should. It's becoming a document to the Clark's lives and more than just a pretty picture.